Automotive testing technology supplier, AB Dynamics, has launched the Soft Scooter 360, a realistic Powered Two-Wheeler (PTW) test target. The unit enables vehicle manufacturers to safely test and develop ADAS and autonomous vehicle systems to identify PTWs. The PTW market – mostly scooters, mopeds and motorcycles – is fast-growing, especially with the popularity of food delivery services; indeed it is projected to increase by more than 37% over the next five years, reaching 65.2 million annual sales.
The target features speed-matched rotating wheels that provide a micro-Doppler effect, which is important for assessing radar sensors. A photorealistic vinyl skin enhances camera detection, and AB Dynamics says it creates a radar signature comparable to that of a real scooter and rider, which also increases realism for sensor characterisation.
The hardware uses a lightweight tubular skeleton surrounded by durable foam pieces, capable of withstanding front and side impact speeds of 40kph and 60kph, respectively. The hard points of the target have been minimised to reduce possible damage to the test vehicle in the event of an impact. For example, the ends of the handlebars are made of hollowed rubber to provide better compliance if it comes into contact with the vehicle.
The rider is a separate component that is mounted to the scooter rather than being an integrated section, which also helps to reduce damage to the test vehicle during a collision. The scooter section of the target has been wrapped in a hard-wearing and easily replaceable vinyl skin.
“The complexity and quantity of ADAS testing is increasing rapidly and so too is the cost,” said Leo Evans, lead engineer at AB Dynamics. “Damage to test vehicles is one of the highest costs associated with ADAS testing and can cause significant delays during track time. As a result, we have optimised the Soft Scooter 360 to be cost-effective, easily repairable and minimise the potential for damage to the vehicle under test.”
AB Dynamics says the Soft Scooter 360 meets the ISO/WD 19206-5 standard and is compatible with C-NCAP’s latest protocols. The type of test scenarios it can be used for include lane cut-in – where the scooter overtakes and cuts into the same lane as the test vehicle; blind spot – where the test vehicle attempts to change lanes with the scooter positioned in the test vehicle’s blind spot; and intersections – where the scooter and test vehicle cross the intersection perpendicular to each other at the same time.
“With vulnerable road users (pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists) accounting for more than 50% of road traffic deaths globally, scooters need to be better represented in ADAS and autonomous vehicle testing,” said Evans. “China’s C-NCAP protocols are currently leading the way in helping to improve the safety of scooters, and Euro NCAP has stated in its Vision 2030 roadmap that it is set to expand its testing to better cater for PTW riders. The Soft Scooter 360 will be a critical tool in this new testing and will help to improve the safety of riders and other road users.”
The target is compatible with AB Dynamics’ range of VRU test platforms, and using the company’s path-following software, the platform and target can be precisely controlled and choreographed with the test vehicle to within a claimed accuracy of 2cm. This enables pre-programmed test scenarios, such as prescriptive Euro NCAP tests, to be conducted quickly and repeatably.